Independent press is extirpated in Odessa
This time the independent newspaper “Pravoe delo” published by the studio “Negotsiant” is under the threat of closure. The pressure on the newspaper intensified, when the editorial board dared to reprint in the issue of 19 September 2003, with the reference to the Internet, the article “Special services or a trade representation?” The article quoted the letter of an anonymous officer of the oblast directorate of the Security Service of Ukraine about the facts of corruption observed in the USS directorate of the Odessa oblast.
Irina Goloborodko, a deputy of the editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Pravoe delo”, said in her exclusive interview to the radio station “The Voice of America”: “The newspaper did not exceed the limits stipulated by Article 42 of the Law “On printed mass media and the press”. In our reprint we referred to the Internet edition “Vlasti.net””.
It became known that, after the publication of the article “Special services or a trade representation?”, the staff changes occurred in the oblast USS directorate. The journalists regarded this fact as a peculiar confirmation of the information published by the Internet edition “Vlasti.net” and reprinted by the Odessa newspaper “Pravoe delo”.
However, Gennadiy Trukhanov, one of the personages of the publication, handed the claim to the Primorskiy district court of Odessa about the protection of honor, dignity and business reputation, and about the compensation of moral and material damage by the editorial board of the newspaper “Pravoe delo”. In the first claim the plaintiff demanded the compensation sum equal to one hryvna, but the legislation does not stipulate such sum, so it was a violation of the procedural norms. On 13 January 2004, at the first court sitting, Valeriy Alin, the representative of G. Trukhanov, brought in the supplement to the claim containing the demand of the 200 thousand hryvnas.
The editorial board of the newspaper regards this claim as illegal.
“The oligarchic structures mentioned in the article “Special services or a trade representation?” want to destroy the independent edition, thus violating the citizens right for obtaining truthful, thorough and unbiased information.
“We got no refutations of the information published in the article “Special services or a trade representation?””, said Irina Goloborodko.
The next court sitting will be conducted on 4 February 2004.
Yet, the opponents of the newspaper did not stop the pressure on the edition.
In the evening of 19 January two strangers came to Irina Goloborodkos flat. They did not introduce themselves, but warned the journalist that the newspaper “Pravoe delo” would be destroyed anyway. They also told that if I. Goloborodko would continue to protect the interests of the newspaper at the trial against G. Trukhanov, it would be injurious to her health. The journalist considered these threats as a real confirmation of the information spread by the newspaper.
On 20 January Irina Goloborodko passed the appeals to the head of the Odessa oblast militia directorate and the judge of the Primorskiy district court of Odessa. She wrote: “I want to warn the law-enforcing organs that I am not going to commit suicide, that the state of my health is satisfactory, so, if something would happen to me, you would be able to get the information about that from Gennadiy Trukhanov and his representatives”.
The Institute of mass information and the Odessa oblast branch of the independent trade union of journalists have already become interested in the situation around the newspaper “Pravoe delo”.
In a day or two the editorial board of the newspaper “Pravoe delo” is going to organize a special press conference and to make public the facts concerning the conflict.
The confrontation intensifies.